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The Street
The Street
Veronika Bondarenko

A traveler says Spirit Airlines stole more than $14K of her luxury clothes

Most travelers have had to deal with a lost bag at least once or twice in their lives.

In the last two years, the chances of this have also gotten higher as the airline industry deals with sky-high travel rates following the pandemic without being able to find enough staff to meet it. One calculation by airline data company SITA showed that while there were 4.35 lost bags for every 1,000 passengers in 2022, the number went up to 7.6 bags by 2022.

Related: This Is the Airport Most Likely to Lose or Damage Your Baggage, Per Recent Study

While Department of Transportation laws require airlines to reimburse travelers for the contents of luggage they lose, this applies to standard items that the average person would transport. The maximum liability is at best $3,800 for domestic flights and $1,700 for international ones while those transporting more expensive items are better off getting specific insurance.


Woman claims suitcase tampered with, Rolex and designer clothing missing

In rare cases, there are even instances of suspected theft. Last week, one woman who flew from Jamaica's Montego Bay to Detroit International Airport with Spirit Airlines (SAVE) -) in April 2023 filed a lawsuit claiming that a lost bag delivered to her later was missing property worth more than $14,000.

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In the lawsuit filed in Michigan courts, Tykeisha Campbell said that her baggage was lost during a connection at Philadelphia International Airport. While the airline delivered the bag to her a day later, Campbell claimed that the locks had been tampered with and property was missing.

Some of the lost items include a $5,700 Rolex watch, a gold bracelet worth $1,500, a $1,780 Louis Vuitton (LVMHF) -) bag and $1,150 Gucci pants among other pieces of designer clothing.

As reported by airline news site Pyok, Spirit Airlines successfully requested that the lawsuit to be moved to local federal court and will defend itself by arguing that it is only responsible for the extent covered by the Montreal Convention — the aforementioned $1,700 liability limit for lost and damaged baggage on international flights. For flights within the U.S., the maximum required by the DOT is $3,800.

The airline did not immediately respond to TheStreet's request for comment on the situation.

Want to minimize your chances of an airline losing your bag? Don't do this one thing

Amid the spike in incidents related to lost luggage during peak travel periods, the summers of 2022 and 2023 have both been dubbed "summers of lost luggage." Delta Air Line (DAL) -) once even flew a plane with no passengers but over 1,000 pieces of lost luggage from London to Detroit just to transport all the stranded bags that had accumulated at Heathrow Airport.

While some travelers have been minimizing the risks by only traveling with their carry-on, one easy trick recommended by airport workers is to pull off the luggage tag that check-in agents put on the handle after the trip is over — letting ones from past flights accumulate could cause one's bag to be accidentally sent to the wrong destination.

"Let's say you flew American (AAL) -) and then a month later, you flew Southwest (LUV) -)," a baggage handler says in a TikTok video posted by Ontario International Airport in August. "Well, there's a little sticker that goes on for American that tells the computer that it should go to there."

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